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Couple of Questions from a Newbie


TDolce

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Hello everyone, I have recently become very interested in Gold panning and detecting as a nice sideline hobby and will be attending the forthcoming GPAA meeting in Knoxville in June with my son just to see if this is something that I can do and what it's really all about.

I have a few questions right out of the gate though that I'd love to get some opinions on.

1) Is it even possible to pan and metal detect for Gold if you don't belong to the GPAA? It seems like the only way to get maps and locations to public areas that are OK to explore is through joining their organization. Is it worth joining? Is it as nice as it appears to be?

2) I realize that this is a labor of love and PATIENCE and one must always keep their expectations centered in reality,...but for a guy that lives in Western Tennessee where there is probably no Gold in the ground or creek beds,....I do wonder if I'm really headed for years and years of disappointment. I have no idea where to get the info about lands that are ok for panning.

3) I have to ask this question because it's the parent in me that's coming out here. In the south,..where you find creeks and streams,...you find snakes. Where you find dry rocky crevices,..you will find snakes. Do any of you ever encounter any and/or prepare for this possibility? Shin guards? Snake proof boots?

Thanks!

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Well first off, welcome aboard. Your first question about the GPAA is a good one. Yes they are a great club to be a member of, no you don't have to be a member to be able to go prospecting somewhere. The benefits to being a member to a club or organization is they have done all the hard work of researching areas to find gold. Now, if you don't want to join then all that research is on you, which is actually a fun time, especially with your kids. Just get on the Internet and type in mining districts for the area you live in. There will be information somewhere if there was mining activity in your area. Tennessee is known for gold but it is also known for alot of private property. I don't think it is like out west here where 80 percent of the land is public. Just do a little bit of research and see what you come up with. Good luck.

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The snake question. Alot of the folks on here are from the desert ( arizona, nevada, California) We have ALOT of snakes. My kids go with me all the time. They just need to be tought what to look for and where to stay out of. When we do get to an area we are working I go look around at the general area and do a general inspection lol. But critters move in and out so just doing an inspection of where your working doesn't get rid of the chance Of finding a snake. As for snake protection, where we highbank and dredge here in nv is nice and open so there is little brush and you can see. But where we detect there is brush and rocks and lots of snake territory. We wear snake guards on our legs and they help a lot. Just always watch where you stick your hands.

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The snake question. Alot of the folks on here are from the desert ( arizona, nevada, California) We have ALOT of snakes. My kids go with me all the time. They just need to be tought what to look for and where to stay out of. When we do get to an area we are working I go look around at the general area and do a general inspection lol. But critters move in and out so just doing an inspection of where your working doesn't get rid of the chance Of finding a snake. As for snake protection, where we highbank and dredge here in nv is nice and open so there is little brush and you can see. But where we detect there is brush and rocks and lots of snake territory. We wear snake guards on our legs and they help a lot. Just always watch where you stick your hands.

Thanks for that advise. I just wanted to be sure that if I purchased snake guards that people wouldn't look at me like I was some kinda moron and worried about nothing.....Common sense was telling me that if in areas where there are crevices and places that snakes could hide,...that taking precautions was not a bad idea. I'd rather be snickered at as opposed to dealing with a snake bite and seeking medical attention while in the middle of nowhere. That sounds like a bad day to me.

I think a hiking stick could be advantageous too at times.

Edited by TDolce
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No laughs on this side of the country for using snake guards and other protective gear. Like you said, your in the middle of nowhere and lots can go wrong so whatever you think you might need, by all means get it. Always be prepared for what CAN happen. Prospecting is one of the funnest hobbies around but it can be dangerous if not prepared. It's just like every other outdoor hobby, critters and elements can get ya so get the gear that best suits your needs. I'll take people laughing at me for being over prepared. Them are the types of people that get the search and rescue sent after them or you see walking for miles because they only have one spare tire. Have fun.

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I can tell I'm going to like this crowd already!!!

People say that gold/relic miners are some of the nicest people around and I'm beginning to think it's true!

I want one of those Minelab Detectors sooooooo darn bad,....but I'm gonna start with a simple pan first and work my way up.

Oooh wait,..I have a plan! I will pan enough Gold to afford myself a nice fancy shmancy Minelab 5000 and then take the extra loot and

buy some land in the Nevada desert. Then I will just hunt for Gold until I dry up.

Oh that's right,....somehow I have to work my wife into this equation. I better think this through some more. Darn it all.

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The people on here are great. Mike F it might be good to carry a whole set in some areas lol.

Edited by nugget108
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Snake guards aka leg guards do more than protect from snakes. They help against thorns, cactus and that part of your legs if attacked by wasp or hornets.

Also good to sit on when your in an area that has burrs in the dirt.

If they go just above your knees, like mine do they protect your knees from the gravel when digging deep nuggets.

Having been struck three times I don't leave the truck without them.

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The only time my snake guards came in useful was the first time I wore them. Walking through the desert while dark, I heard a rattler slither off as I jumped the other way. I think he was more scared than I was. I don't know if I kicked him, stepped on him, or woke him up and I don't know if he snapped at me because it was dark, but I'm glad I had those things on. They do protect from thorns in the desert southwest.

I bought them because my son, I think he was 11 at the time went out metal detecting with me snapped at the metal detector. I got the guards the very next day.

Perhaps the chapter of the GPAA you belong to has a deal with local private land owners to allow prospecting on their property for chapter owners only. There's other clubs besides the GPAA to join.

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See if you can find a nice small local yokel club be it gem/mineral,detecting or gold. Take baby steps FIRST before you start throwing huge amounts of cash into the wind. Local club have access to property or their members do. Plenty of retired folks who go out constantly and anyone with a strong back is always a welcome sight to tag along and learn. Have fun as many--MOST never stay with it long at all as costly,dangerous,hard manual labor and many folks will quit right quick like. You must first learn how to properly classify and pan as it's the backbone of mining-Lotza luck-John

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Great tips everyone! Thanks!

My father in law has over 75 acres of land in a rural area of West Tennessee,..so that may be a good place to start. Some woodsy areas, open areas and even a creek and stream are on the land. He gave me the big thumbs up to go over there and mine as much as I want.

I know for a fact though that Cotton Mouth Snakes and Water Mocs hang out by the water overe there. I will get the guards and boots for myself and son before trekking over there for sure. I want to learn how to pan and classify at the Gold Show in June though and then practice, practiice, practice....before even thinking about any plans.

Metal detectors come later.....when and if I decide to get serious.

Todd

Edited by TDolce
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Hello,


You don't say where you are located in TN.. TN isn't exactly known for being gold country.. The only known gold belt in TN is a strip about 50 miles long that runs through the three southeastern-most counties.. Coker Creek in Monroe Co hosts a GPAA lease.. I'd imagine you'll run into at least one member of the GPAA chapter from that area at the show whom I'm sure would be more-than-happy to help you better understand the geological layout of your area..


Even though the property to which you have access is far west TN I know plenty of folks who have found gold in areas that supposedly weren't gold-producing (however somewhat close to known gold-bearing locations..) Ergo what I've shouldn't be construed as discouragement toward persuement but rather as letting you know you'll be working a fringe-at-best locale.. Mineral research for that area is recommended.. The possibility of gemstones always exists too..


As far as getting the feel for panning, from Knoxville it isn't all that far further east on I-40 to get to a couple of decent pay-to-play places in western NC.. I'm not sure what town the exit sign says, but just a few miles south on NC Rte. 221 brings one to the Lucky Strike Mine and a couple miles further leads to Thermal City Gold Mine.. Both are inexpensive, supply pans, screens, a mound of gold-bearing material, panning troughs, are family friendly and offer reasonable camping rates as well..


Hope you find this info helpful..


SA

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The Knoxville GPAA Gold show is being sponsored by the the Coker Creek GPAA chapter which has one of the 2 GPAA "Claims" in the SE USA, so there will be many of their members at the GPAA Gold show, I would recommend meeting as many members as you can and get to know them and maybe joining their chapter, the Coker Creek GPAA Chapter is located in SE Tennessee so as Al mentioned that area is your best bet for finding gold in Tennessee, there have been some reports of gold being found in central Tennessee but these findings/reports are few and far between and when reported only a few small specks have been found, I have never heard of any gold being found in western Tennessee.

Here's link to the Coker Creek GPAA chapter's website, they have a forum as well, and link to their forum can be found on the chapter's homepage.

http://cokercreekgpaa.com/

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Hello,
You don't say where you are located in TN.. TN isn't exactly known for being gold country.. The only known gold belt in TN is a strip about 50 miles long that runs through the three southeastern-most counties.. Coker Creek in Monroe Co hosts a GPAA lease.. I'd imagine you'll run into at least one member of the GPAA chapter from that area at the show whom I'm sure would be more-than-happy to help you better understand the geological layout of your area..
Even though the property to which you have access is far west TN I know plenty of folks who have found gold in areas that supposedly weren't gold-producing (however somewhat close to known gold-bearing locations..) Ergo what I've shouldn't be construed as discouragement toward persuement but rather as letting you know you'll be working a fringe-at-best locale.. Mineral research for that area is recommended.. The possibility of gemstones always exists too..
As far as getting the feel for panning, from Knoxville it isn't all that far further east on I-40 to get to a couple of decent pay-to-play places in western NC.. I'm not sure what town the exit sign says, but just a few miles south on NC Rte. 221 brings one to the Lucky Strike Mine and a couple miles further leads to Thermal City Gold Mine.. Both are inexpensive, supply pans, screens, a mound of gold-bearing material, panning troughs, are family friendly and offer reasonable camping rates as well..
Hope you find this info helpful..
SA

Thanks Swampstomper!!!

BTW,...do you ever find anything down there by the Space Coast?

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Hello again :4chsmu1:

It's almost exclusively coin shooting here..

The beaches in Brevard Co. are not very productive, mainly because they've all been replenished / renourished in recent years with the exception of about a two mile stretch in the southern part of the county.. After a big off-shore storm or hurricane we will head down to that section because there are sunken treasure ships in the area, so there's always the possibility of something golden getting swept in or washed out of the dunes.. I haven't had that pleasure of a find so far..

As far as prospecting goes: I generally head into and around the NC area I mentioned to you (Vein Mountain LDMA isn't too far from those locations,) Allatoona Lake watershed area north of Atlanta and to a lesser degree The Farm GPAA lease-claim west of Atlanta almost into AL..These are the closest decent locations to where I live, all being around 550 - 600 miles away..

I do try to get out west when possible, with my favorite location this side of California being pretty much Bill's back yard.. That trip's just a tad further than 600 miles -- :ROFL: -- by about a factor of four :grr01:

SA

PS: You're already expected in Knoxville.. I have no idea how stuff like that happens ;)

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SA,

I'll be in Knoxville alright and EASY to spot! I'll be the guy that has that deer in the headlights look!!!!

I'm taking my son and it will be just the two of us most likely. I cannot tell you how excited I am.

Thinking that my son wants to go to college out west in a couple of years and is leaning toward Arizona or California. THAT means one thing to me! Lots of visits and detecting GOOOOOOOOOLD!!!! I'll have to deal with those da#@! snakes out there though. Oh well,...that's a couple of years away.

(yikes,..does this mean that I have the fever already???)

Wish I knew someone who lived in the desert in Nevada or someplace that wouldn't mind showing me the ropes and letting me stay in the bunkhouse for a day or two! I'm always willing to pay rent too! No charity case here!

We visited the Gulf coast last month down there in Pensacola and Santa Rosa and could only imagine the way to get lucky would be to detect around there at dusk as the crowds leave the beach and perhaps leave some jewelry behind. Otherwise not much else seemed likely as a good spot for detecting anything.

I think what you guys do (heading to the storm riddled beach) is a GREAT way to increase your chances!

As for joining the GPAA,..I think it will be a no brainer for me and will most likely do so at the convention in Knoxville. The nice thing is that if I join,....my son is automatically a member too! THAT is a good thing. Doubtful that my wife will care,...but she might later on.

I hope that they have vendors there too like they apparently do at the Gold Shows out West. I would love to get a nice pan or two to take back with me. Plus I'd love to see how technology has merged with tradition and also see what's out there for folks in the hobby today.

I may start a new thread about Detectors as that also has me curious.

td

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Just a couple of quick notes:

1. Getting to the gold in western Tennessee creeks is different from out west where the mountainous terrain and snowmelt create annual swift water and purge a lot of silt allowing the gold to settle in predictable places. Near the Mississippi River the creeks run slow and the mud and muck can be deep. Also, the gold may be rather fine bodied as opposed to clunky nuggets. Be patient, try to get some tips from knowledgeable locals and practice panning in a tub. Classification will be essential. Lots of fun DIY projects to try. Highbanking or using a recirculator around old creek benches may be a good option to consider. Try digging at the bottom of the bench, classify the gavels down to minus 8 and see what happens.

2. A relatively close by place (couple of hundred miles) is in Murfreesboro, Arkansas where you can sift and pan for diamonds for $5 a day. Diamonds are middling heavy -- heavy enough to pan. No gold there, but a huge assortment of rockhound delights can be recovered (jasper, clear and colored quartz, etc.). Special, locally manufactured batea-like sieves can be used to quickly concentrate the heaviest cons in the center when you flip and slam them over into a pan. Arkansas diamonds are considerably harder than the African diamonds (28% harder). Good specimens can fetch a high price.

3. Don't forget to wear snake proof boots. I've seen some folks who sport snake guards, but wear canvas ordinary running shoes or tennis shoes. A pit viper will zero in on the closest source of heat radiation -- like a succulent, pink toe for example.

Have fun. Keep us in the loop as your project progresses.

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Oh yeah, one other tip: Carry a small vial of pepper spray. If you encounter a snake that will not back off, just spray a bit of dirt a foot or so upwind from the snake. Do NOT actually spray the snake which will go berserk and begin striking blindly in all directions.

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